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The videogame market and its localization in China

China: the largest gaming market in the world

The Asian giant has already become the largest market in the world game today. According to the latest report by IHS, the video game market in China had a turnover of no less than 25,000 million dollars in 2017. It is expected to exceed 29.000 million turnover in 2018. According to these figures, the revenue of the game sector in China account for 5% of the world total: one in every four dollars of the video game industry is being billed in China .

According to the report, most of the revenue came from PC titles such as League of Legends , CrossFire and Overwatch. However, it is estimated that video games for mobile phones or tablets will exceed revenue from other platforms this year. Spending on mobile games grew by 55% in 2017 and increases of 24% for this year 2018 are expected.

Meanwhile, the consoles still do not find their place in the Chinese market. The sales figures of the two major international game consoles, PS4 and Xbox, barely exceeded 500,000 units since its launch.

An overpopulated country

All this avalanche of numbers is driven by the huge population of China. The Asian giant has a population of about 1400 million people (more than thirty times the population of Spain). In addition, glancing closer to the demographics of China, we see that about 21% of its population is between 15 and 40 years.

We could discuss what is the average age of a gamer, but surely many would agree that it's probably in this range. This is almost 300 million potential gamers with stable jobs and increasing purchasing power. Remember that the unemployment rate in China is around 4% according to official figures, and that the country has a large and increasingly stable middle class.

Chinese video game translation

A generation without computers

Unlike what happens in the West, where many have our personal computer or PC, gamers in China the situation are very different. It is estimated that around 95% of Internet users in China access the network through their mobile phones.

Today, China still has thousands of Internet cafes nationwideIn addition, Chinese Internet cafes have gone a step further: they offer 35 inches screens, hundreds of games, sofasfood delivery and very low pricesIn fact, many Chinese choose to use Internet cafes in lieu of hotels in some areas of the country: it is much cheaper to spend the night in the cafes than to sleep in a single room in a hostel.

Mobile phones as the dominant platform

The situation of Internet cafes in China is very important for people to understand the impact of mobile data platforms in China. For the vast majority of Chinese mobile phone is your personal computer.

It is the device they use every day, reading the news, following social networks, watching movies or series online, even for working. And, of course, it is becoming a favorite Chinese platform for playing games .

The video game translation in China

According to the latest Chinajoy convention, the most important game fair of China, the Asian giant develops and publishes over 30,000 mobile games each year, nearly 2,500 new games every month .

However, not all of these games go through localization processes. Some are not even translated into other languages. The Chinese entrepreneur and developer of games still do not understand the importance of localization and translation of video games.

In my opinion, this is mainly due to two reasons. First, domestic demand in the country continues to grow year after year. There is still room for growth by exploiting the internal market and many developers prefer to invest their money in national promotion.

Second, the lack of national competition for game localization in other languages. Chinese developer today has two basic alternatives for the translation of video games: foreign translation companies or Chinese translation companies. The first, large international translation companies based in China, are very expensive, representing an investment too large for a service that for many game companies is today, complementary and optional.

Second, the specialized translation Chinese companies are very young and barely have resources. Most of these companies are newly established, founded 4 or 5 years ago. The services offered are economically affordable, but its results are far from satisfactory.

The number of foreign residents in China is very low day. If you also add the filter 'video game experience as a translator, "we are talking about a population of a tiny few professionals."

Translation and localization of video games in China are performed by, mostly, people without training and experience in the sector. Merely being a native and mastering English is usually enough to enter the selection processes for any Chinese videogame translation company.

As China 's domestic demand becomes saturated and profit margins in China are gradually reduced, the Chinese game companies will start to give much more importance to international markets and localization and translation of content. Given the low competition in the sector, today China is a world of possibilities for translators of games.

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